The NewsDemon Blog

Newsgroup Spotlight: Art and Entertainment Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet May 6th, 2009

Devoted discussions of all aspects of theatre, art and entertainment follow the history of Usenet.  Split into specific sub-category newsgroups, Usenet is a source for community discussions, interactions, sharing and discovering aspects of their respective genres and fields.

Since the early days of Usenet, devoted newsgroups to particular art forms of theatre and entertainment have existed. A hub for those interested in both the result and the process has either found or created a group specific to their interests over the years.

For film buffs or those interested in the process of film making can join discussions on dedicated newsgroups such as rec.arts.cinema where they discuss everything from cinematic technique to film history on this newsgroup.

Additionally, rec.arts.movies and rec.arts.television cover generally the same aspects in their respective genres.

For theatre,, along sub-category newsgroups cover discussions of everything within the range of stage work, acting, directing, reviewing and production. Otherwise, covers other aspects of popular theatre as well.

The above examples are just some of the many newsgroups that Usenet provides in the field of theatre, art and entertainment. Other newsgroups that are much more specific to your interests are sure to also be part of the Usenet hierarchy.

US Government and Military Expand From Usenet Newsgroups To Social Networks

By Newsgroup Usenet May 5th, 2009

Government Expands Usenet To Include Social NetworksThe Obama administration now has feeds on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The social networking sites are just the latest in the administration’s efforts to make information widely available, as they join YouTube, Flickr, iTunes and Vimeo in addition to their existing presence on Usenet newsgroups.

Each branch of the U.S. military continues to try and see how it can embrace Web 2.0.
The Pentagon is now using Web 2.0 services such as Facebook and Twitter to help relay the military’s message while also tracking down possible recruits online.

At a time when some Americans don’t believe mass media in the United States is portraying the correct message about the mission in Iraq, officials such as Gen Raymond Odierno, top U.S. commander in Iraq, have a Facebook page used to highlight things soldiers are doing in the Middle East. This is in compliment to many government newsgroups they also post to.

The social-networking sites are the latest in the administration’s and military’s efforts to make information widely available, as they join YouTube, Flickr, iTunes and Vimeo in appendum to the widely vast availability of specific government administration and US military newsgroups such as: sci.military.naval,, alt.military, and rec.aviation.military to name a few and not including internal mil. newsgroups

“Technology has profoundly impacted how — and where — we all consume information and communicate with one another,” wrote an administration official on “ is an important part of the administration’s effort to use the Internet to reach the public quickly and effectively — but it isn’t the only place.”

The Marine Corps has dabbled with Web 2.0 experimentation, although it mainly has been for recruiting only, using the practice for years on newsgroups. Both the Navy and Coast Guard are experimenting how to work in the Web 2.0 world, with even the Coast Guard commandant updating his Facebook status while he travels.

Some companies and organizations have been wary to launch official Web 2.0 services, though allowing select executives and employees to handle work-related business online. It’s not uncommon to find both employees and executives from companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and others sharing information online.

All of these companies and government sections however, have not only embraced, but have been part of the Usenet community for quite some time.

Newsgroup Spotlight: Government and Regional Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet April 29th, 2009

With recent announcements, summits, conferences and happenings, governments all over the world have been sharing the media spotlight more than ever. Following stories on world government affairs can be daunting, let alone being part of communities that deal with specific regions and topics. USENET  have a variety of different newsgroups that deal directly with regional governments as well as specific issues.
Whether you wish to be part of and follow stories that affect China to Canada and back around to South Asia and the European Union, there are newsgroups for almost any region or country government in existence. Specific issues that affect these regions are also covered by topical newsgroups. Even if you’re planning a vacation to these regions, there are newsgroups specific for them.
Whatever the topic or issue, government newsgroups offer a way to connect and share with a community of those interested in similar topics and regions.

Samsung and Netbook Maker Announce Android Devices

By Newsgroup Usenet April 27th, 2009

Two Android powered devices have recently been announced, growing the exposure and the adoption of the Google OS. The open source operating system is being displayed in new phones and netbooks. The Android OS currently supports Usenet newsgroups by means of the mobile version of Google Groups as well as a 3rd party newsreader application.

Samsung released its first handset based on Google’s Android platform, the I7500. O2 Germany will launch the phone in June. The candybar handset will have tri-band 7.2 Mbps HSDPA (in the 900 MHz, 1700 MHz and 2100 MHz bands), WiFi, a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, a 5-megapixel camera and 8GB of internal storage (with a microSD slot capable of holding up to an additional 32GB). It also has Bluetooth 2.0, GPS and a 3.5 mm headset jack. The phone does not have a physical keyboard.

This model will have a tablet shape and an HVGA display. Users will need to depend on the touchscreen for text input and dialing numbers, as there is no hardware keyboard.

With the introduction of the I7500, there are now two handset makers currently selling Android phones. HTC has unveiled both the G1 and the Magic, and plans on releasing at least two more Android handsets by the end of the year. LG Electronics and Motorola have also indicated their intentions to release Android phones this year, as have smaller firms such as Acer and Huawei.

In the netbook market, Skytone announced the first Android-powered netbook earlier this week, when the Alpha 680 quietly appeared on the company’s website. The Alpha 680 is to be the first netbook to carry the Google Android platform from Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies Company LTD. The Alpha 680 will run a low cost ARM chip and is expected to become available possibly within the next 3 months.

Roughly priced at $250, the Alpha 680 will run on Google’s Android operating system, and will make use of the economical and energy-efficient ARM processor – used in mobile phones, including iPhone – rather than the commonly-used Atom processor used in most netbooks.

The current prototypes measure 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and 1.2 inches thick, which is small enough to inside a small bag. The unit will also be very lightweight at just 700g (1.5lbs) and between 2 to 4 hours of battery life out of the Alpha 680’s 2-cell battery. ARM 11 533MHz processor,128MB RAM and 1GB of flash storage are standard on the device. An optional upgrade to 256MB RAM and 4GB flash storage is possible. For those that want more, a SDHC slot is also supported.

They were showcased at Hongkong’s electronics trade show last week and will likely be readied by June, with the final product to become available within a couple of months after that.

Currently, the only supported newsreader for the Android OS is the Groundhog Newsreader.

Newsgroup Spotlight: Radio Hobbyists Newsgoups

By Newsgroup Usenet April 22nd, 2009

For as long as Usenet has been around and specialized newsgroups came to form on practically every subject, so did hobbyists. One large group that started to form were amateur and professional radio enthusiasts.
Radio newsgroups offer a variety of different topics and specifics to meet almost any need. From Ham Radio Newsgroups to Digital Radio Newsgroups If you’re a hobbyist at heart, this is the community for you.

These newsgroups are intended to be a place where any radio monitoring topic or hobbies can and should be discussed. The community of hobbyists like tohear from posters who listen to any part of the radio or microwave spectrum, from DC to daylight. Discussions range from shortwave broadcasting, DXing small or distant shortwave stations, utility and teletype monitoring, station schedules, spectrum usage, equipment design and modifications, antennas, receiver reviews and recommendations and many, many more.

Here are just some of the newsgroups to discover if you are a radio hobbyists enthusiast:



Stephen Hawking Seriously Ill in Cambridge University Hospital

By Newsgroup Usenet April 20th, 2009

Usenet Newsgroups are currently abuzz with the news that mathematician/cosmologist/theoretician Stephen Hawking who filled Sir Isaac Newton’s shoes at Cambridge University for several years is seriously ill in Cambridge. He has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks and is now undergoing tests at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Wheelchair-bound Hawking is perhaps most famous for ‘A Brief History of Time‘ which explored the origins of the universe in layman’s terms, is considered a modern classic. It was followed in 2001 by another book, “The Universe In A Nutshell“, television documentary appearances and even cameos in popular television shows like “The Simpsons” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Professor Hawking was awarded a CBE in 1982, became a Companion of Honour in 1989 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Hawking has Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS), which is usually fatal after three years. Hawking has survived for more than 40 years since his diagnosis. Hawking, 67, has achieved international fame despite being wheelchair-bound because of motor neurone disease and having to communicate through a voice synthesiser. He has received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) as well as a string of honorary degrees.

His distinctive appearance and artificial speech have made him instantly recognisable world-wide, and he has never shirked the media spotlight.

Hawking has always insisted he is determined not to let his physical condition get in the way of his work. He has worked at Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics for more than 30 years and since 1979 has been the University’s Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Time Warner Backs Out Of Download Limits

By Newsgroup Usenet April 17th, 2009

Time Warner’s new CEO, Glenn Britt, issued a statement yesterday saying the company had shelved the pricing trials in Rochester, N.Y.; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; and Greensboro, N.C. Those trials, which started only two weeks earlier, charged subscribers for the amount of bandwidth they used. Time Warner called it a “consumption-based” model.

The cable giant’s plan was to price its home broadband service by tiers according to how much data customers use. Critics of the plan said it would raise rates dramatically for those who use Internet video, phone and other bandwidth-heavy applications.

Time Warner Cable recently backed off from its attempt to impose “usage-based pricing” of its Road Runner service in several regions of New York, after Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer strenuously opposed such a plan. But cable companies will continue to push its heavy usage penalties, until regulation is in place to stop them, say consumer rights critics.

The Federal Communications Commission is preparing a study of cable companies for Congress, due next year. The commission will evaluate pricing, speed, affordability and availability, and the cable companies are terrified federal regulations are on the way.

Late last year, Time Warner Cable had dropped access to Usenet Newsgroups to its customers as well.

The cost of equipment to upgrade Internet capacity is falling rapidly and is about to fall more with new high-speed technology, called Docsis 3, which will increase capacity and offer speedier downloads.

To keep up with this growing demand, carriers have said that they have to enlarge their networks quickly and deploy more efficient technologies that increase capacity. It seems inevitable to all parties that Internet access will cost more, but making the transition to a new pricing scheme based on consumption can’t be done overnight.

Time Warner Cable said it was going to focus for now on making measurement tools available so consumers can learn how much bandwidth they consume.

Under the trial that was shelved, customers were asked to choose Internet usage plans that capped monthly uploads and downloads at 10GB, 20GB, 40GB or 60GB. Customers would pay $1 per gigabyte if they went over those caps, with overage fees limited to $75.

Time Warner will be charging $99 a month and Comcast $139 a month, for its new 50-megabit service. Comcast currently charges approximately $45 a month for 8-megabits-per-second downloads. Countries like Japan that have competition between its Internet providers, charge $60 a month for 160-megabits-per-second. All services and plans offered by these ISPs is supported by all Newsgroups membership.

Newsgroup Spotlight: Golf Newsgroups

By Newsgroup Usenet April 15th, 2009

Besides Web sites, there are other areas of interest for golf lovers. Usenet newsgroups are a popular source for interactive bulletin boards designed for discussion and dispute. The newsgroup is one of the best for golfers.

Filled with golf nuts, who have wanted a place of their own to write, to share opinions, and to gather, was born and a host of other golf related newsgroups then followed. Golf Newsgroups offers news, swing tips, opinions, and a whole lot of information.

Everything from golf equipment to handicap information – including insturctional information – can be found on newsgroups. Discussions about players,prize money, results, TV coverage, courses etc are broken down to specific regions, allowing you to narrow down the groups that interest you. Specific discussions may relate to professional golf tournaments and issues relating to the men’s and women’s professional golf tours as well.

For those people interested in the rules of golf: handicapping procedures, golf equipment, swing techniques, or you just want some information on golf courses across the globe, Usenet Newsgroups are a great resource for golf lovers everywhere.

For more about Golf and Golf Newsgroups, check out some of these:

Mobile Application Usenet Newsgroup Newsreaders For iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile

By Newsgroup Usenet April 13th, 2009

Looking to access newsgroups while on the go? Nowadays its easier than ever, especially with current gen phones.

For the ever popular Apple iPhone, NewsTap is available as a Usenet newsreader for the devices, including the iTouch. Features include:

  • It’s easy and simple to subscribe, manage and read news groups.
  • The application fully supports the portrait and landscape mode.
  • Limited support for binary groups so photos and pictures can be displayed as well. It’s possible to add photoes into the photo album.
  • Quotes are displayed in different colors. Hyperlinks can be opened in the web browser Safari.
  • Optimized article layout for the small iPhone display. The original layout is also available.
  • Navigate articles via thread tree or by flicking with one finger.
  • Filter available for read articles and quotes.
  • Build-in help, which explains all the application features.
  • Backup feature (requires a Macintosh computer and the Mac application “NewsTap Backup Tool”), which can be used to save and restore preferences and subscriptions. This feature can also be used to import export “newsrc” files so you can synchronize NewsTap with other Newsreader applications on your Mac. This feature requires a Mac, currently it doesn’t work with Windows.

It is available for $4.00 on the iPhone App Store. NewsTap is pretty easy to navigate and as noted by the list of features, has many different options to customize the iPhone newsreader to your liking. NewsTap Lite is also available for trial use.

For the Android platform, Almarsoft has released Groundhog Newsreader. Some of the features include:

  • Online/Offline modes, so you can choose to download the messages anywhere or in bulk when you have a fast connection (like WI-FI.)
  • Easy reading using colors for the different levels of quoting.
  • Screen to easily select what lines to quote when replying to someone.
  • Messages are grouped by thread using separators to clearly define thread changes and thread level indicators.
  • Starring of users and authors.
  • Banning by thread and author (don’t feed the trolls!)
  • Mail forwarding of Usenet messages.
  • Configurable text size.
  • Group search.

Although currently in beta, the Groundhog Newsreader is pretty stable on the Android system with little to no comments of any crashing (as often is the case with 3rd party applications) with its latest releases. Best of all, its Free.

For Windows Mobile, you can use Outlook or your mail client as your newsreader. However, you may want to try a 3rd party Usenet newsreader such as Qmail or Qusnetsoft NewsReaders available for the device. These programs have not been tested by us, but does seem to get good reviews, which features:

  • NNTP, RSS and RDF Transport support.
  • SSL Encryption for NNTP support.
  • NNTP Authentication support.
  • Online and Offline reading.
  • HTML and Attaches support.
  • Working with several servers.
  • Working without PC Synchronization.
  • Today Screen Plugin.
  • VGA Resolution Display support.
  • Autobackup and Autorestore.

TimeWarner Cable New Bandwith Limits and Usage Plans

By Newsgroup Usenet April 10th, 2009

Time Warner Cable unveiled a new pricing structure for broadband Internet access to quell customer criticism questioning the service provider’s plans to cap bandwidth usage.

In a statement released to the media on Thursday, Time Warner COO Landel Hobbs says, “Some recent press reports about our four consumption based billing trials planned for later this year were premature and did not tell the full story. With that said, we realize our communication to customers about these trials has been inadequate and we apologize for any frustration we caused. We’ve heard the passionate feedback and we’ve taken action to address our customers’ concerns.”

Time Warner says the new pricing model is a direct result of increased content on the internet and they say “bandwidth consumption is growing exponentially.”

Among the changes:

  • Bandwidth tier sizes in trial markets, including Rochester, will be increased to 10, 20, 40 and 60GB for Road Runner Lite, Basic, Standard and Turbo packages, respectively. Package prices will remain the same, ranging from $29.95 to $54.90 per month. Overage charges will be $1 per GB per month. Previously, the tier sizes were 5, 10, 20 and 40GB.
  • A new 100 GB Road Runner Turbo package for $75 a month will offer speeds of 10 MB/1 MB. Overage charges will be $1 per GB per month.
  • A new 1 gigabyte-per-month tier, offering speeds of 768 kilobytes download/128 kilobytes upload, will cost $15 a month, with overage charges of $2 per GB per month. Hobbs said the company’s usage date shows that about 30 percent of Time Warner customers use less than 1GB a month.
  • Overage charges will be capped at $75 per month. “That means that for $150 per month customers could have virtually unlimited usage at Turbo speeds,” Hobbs said.

If Internet users don’t moderate their bandwith consumption, and providers don’t put in caps on their usage, the Internet could start seeing “brownouts” by 2012, said Time Warner Cable’s chief operating officer Landel Hobbs today.

Preventing outages for users was the rationale behind Hobbs’ latest statement on Time Warner Cable’s plans to expand its metered broadband trials to more areas of the U.S. The cable company is testing a “pay-by-the-byte” approach to billing and consumption of Internet services, rather than the flat-price “all you can eat” model of most competitors.

Time Warner representative stressed that the tiered pricing models are just trials at this point and customers won’t be immediately billed or impacted. Instead, Time Warner will provide two months of data usage and then a one-month grace period in which overages will be noted on customers’ bills, but they won’t be charged. They state that this gives customers a chance to access their usage and pick the right service package before charges are applied.

The company also said the plan’s trial will begin in Rochester and Greensboro, N.C., in August, and said it plans to launch the super-fast DOCSIS 3.0 service in the trial markets.

Comcast is another provider that is capping usage, but with a larger 250 GB limit. Even so, it seems odd that while the rest of the world is offering faster, unlimited broadband access for approximately $20 a month, the United States is looking to adopt a more restrictive policy that threatens to stifle innovation for the sake of salvaging yet another dying business.

How this affects downloads of headers and the bandwidth consumption of many newsgroups is something that these plans fail to address as well as the other limits this plan will cause:.Time Warner’s cap level is tier-based with the maximum set at 40 gigabytes per month with a $1 charge for every gigabyte of overage. An average HD quality movie downloaded from iTunes is around 4 GB with an HD TV show hovering around 2 GB. For NetFlix, this can easily double in size for BluRay downloads. If you were to watch one TV show a night, you’d be over the cap by 20 GB, or an extra $20 on your bill. Not including viewing YouTube videos, digital photos, or Web browsing.